Published 17 June 2022 8 min read
England

Callum Doyle's journey from grassroots football to the UEFA U19 EUROs

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Callum Doyle

Young Manchester City defender Callum Doyle was a key part of the Sunderland squad who secured promotion to the Championship this season and now the 18 year old has set his sights on the UEFA U19 EUROs after being included in Ian Foster's squad
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I first got involved with football around the age of four when I started to go and watch my brother Alex at Beechfield United. I just fell in love with the game.

I have always played in higher age groups since I was young, so I was about seven when I started playing for Beechfield United. My dad was the manager and we would win a lot of the tournaments.

A scout from Manchester United then picked me up at under-10s and I had a couple of years there, which I loved, before I then went to Liverpool at under-11s as a midfielder.

It wasn’t really for me though and City wanted to sign me, so I joined them at under-12s.

Callum Doyle has impressed for England MU19s and Sunderland this season
Callum Doyle has impressed for England MU19s and Sunderland this season

My brother Alex is two years older than me and is someone that I look up to. He was at Burnley when he was younger and played in the Football League for Salford City. He is at Marine now and was part of the team that went on a big Emirates FA Cup run.

We used to play most of our football on the street back in Salford, Manchester. There was a park around the corner that we went to, which I think was called the Ivy Street, but most of the time we just played on the street where my mum could see us.

I also have a little brother who plays grassroots football. I go to watch him a lot and it is great seeing him enjoy his football and playing with his mates.

England MU19s are one of eight teams competing at this summer's U19s EUROs
England MU19s are one of eight teams competing at this summer's U19s EUROs

I loved every minute of playing grassroots football. On a Saturday, playing with your mates against another team, it just gives you a really good feeling.

I also enjoyed my time playing football at school, initially at Christ Church and then at St Bede’s College, which is where a lot of the Manchester City players went.

Lunchtimes were a bit hectic. When I first went in, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho were in their last year. It was good to see them and we would try to play with the older kids. Whoever had the ball, we would try to play with them. You felt really comfortable at the school because you were there with all your team-mates.

It is great to have people like Foden to look up to. Obviously, you can look and learn from what they have done and how they have done it, so it has really helped me along the way to get to where I am now.

Callum Doyle and Liam Delap have both been included in Ian Foster's squad for the U19 EUROs
Callum Doyle and Liam Delap have both been included in Ian Foster's squad for the U19 EUROs

It has been a difficult journey for me at times as I have had a few injuries and a few knockbacks, but I have stuck with it.

I had been a striker and a midfielder but found my new position of centre-back around the under-14s because I had Osgood-Schlatter disease, so my manager moved me back but I was really comfortable playing there and have stayed there to this day.

It took me a bit of time to adjust to the position but I loved it. Having played in midfield, it gave me a lot of confidence with the ball and has given me a better idea of how to play out from the back.

Callum Doyle was a regular starter for Sunderland this season despite being just 18 years old
Callum Doyle was a regular starter for Sunderland this season despite being just 18 years old

I have spent this season on loan at Sunderland and it has been a really good season for me and the club.

To be playing regularly at 18, I was given a big responsibility and it was quite hard at the start to adjust to the type of play but I think I have done well this season and it has given me confidence in my play.

With Sunderland winning promotion, hopefully, we can now win the EUROs and make it the perfect season for me.

- MU19s' EUROs campaign will begin against Austria on Sunday. You can see the squad and hear from head coach Ian Foster here.

30 Mar 2022 5:18

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England men's under-19s faced Portugal for a place in this summer's EUROs